Film Review by Clayton Barnett
Pitch Perfect 2
After a humiliating command performance at Lincoln Center, the Barden Bellas enter an international competition that no American group has ever won in order to regain their status and right to perform.
The pitches are back and are on song in the sequel, with more hilarious acapella antics from the Barden Bellas.
Is it as good as the first you ask? It’s hard to top the refreshing original but Pitch Perfect 2 delivers enough one-note gags and toe-tapping harmonies to keep fans happy.
A bigger budget means an even greater selection of songs old and new. With the likes of Tina Turner and Taylor Swift, Muse and Sir Mixalot, Pitbull and Pat Benatar, plus many more, there’s something for everyone. One of the highlights of the first film, the riff-off, is back, this time as an underground battle featuring brilliant categories and a 90’s megamix that’ll have you jump, jump.
Said battle features a great cameo for guys and girls alike. Players from the NFL’s Green Bay Packers, huge fans of the first film, lobbied to be a part of the sequel and actually show some singing talent. Even Snoop Lion makes a cameo that got plenty of laughs.
Rebel Wilson is still absolute gold as Aussie Fat Amy, and steals every scene. On giving Beca some encouragement, “You’re really talented, and I’ve met three of the Wiggles.” Wilson even gets her own solo, belting out Benatar’s We Belong in a uproariously romantic scene. Newcomer Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) comes across a bit keen, and is obviously being set-up to carry on further sequels ala the American Pie franchise.
Elizabeth Banks is still on hand to play commentator Gail, but she’s stepped behind the camera as well for her directorial debut. Banks does a commendable job, in a role that I’m sure stated: ‘Just do the same as the first movie and make us a swag of cash’. She does just that (it’s sure to be blockbuster with the huge fan base), but could have pushed the boundaries a little more and cut some of the fat from the movie. Including some of the dated sexist comedy from co-commentator John Michael Higgins.
The film falls flat in the script department, with the story sticking to the same formula as the first and felling like we’ve heard it all before. There’s a lot of filler, including a few too many training montages (though they never practice what they end up performing) and there’s a lack of real drama in the battle for world champs.
Though the sheer number of rapid-fire gags saves it. When you’re just about to roll your eyes at some of the cheesier moments Fat Amy comes to the rescue.
Not quite hitting the same high notes as the original, Pitch Perfect 2 still delivers a harmonious mix of funny gags - thanks to the comedy stylings of Aussie Rebel Wilson - and brilliant acapella music.
Film Releases: 7th May 2015
Rating: M – Contains sexual references
Duration: 115 minutes
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Hailee Steinfeld
Director: Elizabeth Banks (Debut Feature Film)
Real acapella groups were used during filming, including Pentatonix (winners of The Singoff season 3).
Rebel Wilson publicly stated she wanted Demi Lovato to have a role as one of the Bellas, and even made her an offer, though Demi Lovato chose to focus on her music and tour commitments at the time.
The Super Bowl spot for the film reportedly cost the distribution company a total $4.5 million. Given that the budget of the film is $20 million, the short ad used 20% of their entire production cost on 30 seconds of ad time.
Anna Camp is dating Skylar Astin in real life, but Anna Kendrick is his on screen girlfriend.
Kristen Wiig was originally offered the role of Gail in the first movie, who was later replaced by Elizabeth Banks. Elizabeth Banks is now directing the sequel.
(At around 1 hr 5 mins) NFL Green Bay Packers players T.J. Lang, Don Barclay, Clay Matthews, David Bakhtiari and Josh Sitton play themselves as a rival acapella group.
The Film Features The orignal song by Anna Kendrick, "Cups" it was also featured in the first film when Anna's character, Becca was auditioning for the Bella's This song is actually derived from an old bluegrass tune. The version in the movie is a cover of The Lulus' version.